The Great Plains – Day 6

The Black Hills are a small mountain range in SW South Dakota that emerge out of the plains. The highest peak is about 7500 ft and not snow covered now. There is a thick cover of pine trees that from a distance makes the hills look black. The Lakota tribe of Plains Indians had their home hear.

The number one attraction is Mt. Rushmore. We make our way there on a “buttefull” day. We get there early and pay the $5 entrance fee. We walk up the central aisle between columns – one for each state with the year they entered the Union. Delaware was first on Dec 7, 1787.

In front of us emerges the iconic structure of the four granite faced presidents created by Gutzon Borglum and his son and completed in 1941. We walk down a small path to get as close as possible. I recognize George Washington and Abe Lincoln for sure. I think Thomas Jefferson is there too and ask a man. Strangely he does not know. I am still unsure about the 4th – turns out it is Theodore Roosevelt. It is a very stunning tribute to these great leaders.

As we leave we notice license plates from virtually every state in the Union. Apart form 1 Ontario plate, we are the only other Canadian plate (Manitoba rental). ‎ The low CDN dollar is no doubt a factor.

We continue our drive and stop at buttefull Lakota Lake. It is surrounded by granite buttes and stocked for fishermen. We take a 45 min hike around the lake in the warm sun and notice some large animal tracks. I bravely assure Marie not to be alarmed, there are no grizzlies around here as far as I know! As we emerge from the path a group of trail riders on horseback lazily emerge from another direction. If we were to ride horses, this would be the place.

We head back through Custer State Park dotted with small lakes, campsites and nice lodges. There is a buffalo herd of some 1300 that roams the range but we do not spot any today. Lot’s of RVS and this is the shoulder season. We explore the small town of Custer named after George Custer the Civil War hero and Indian fighter. Nothing much too exciting here – rock stores, photo stores and antiques.

Satisfied, we head back to our BW suite for a swim and hot tub. Another great day on the Plains.

Dave and Marie

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